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Library Policies: Internet Use Policy


Internet Use Policy

1. General

1.1     Throughout its history the Spokane Public Library has made information available in a variety of formats from print to audiovisual materials with selection guided by the Collection Development Policy. In response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, the Library also provides electronic access to information via the Internet.


1.2     The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide electronic access to materials held by the Library and to materials and information beyond the confines of the Library’s own collection. The Internet is an unregulated global medium serving a highly diverse user population.  As such, it offers access to a wealth of information that may be personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages.  Conversely, it also offers access to materials that may be inaccurate, incomplete, offensive, disturbing, and/or illegal.  The Library provides technology protection measures focusing on blocking obscene graphic images, child pornography and images harmful to minors but does not guarantee their effectiveness.

2. Policy

2.1     Internet access at in-library computer workstations is provided equally to all registered Spokane Public Library customers in good standing.


2.2     Just as with the physical collection, not all Internet sites are suitable for all ages. Therefore, the Library provides two levels of filtering: basic and enhanced.


2.3     All library accounts, all in-library computer workstations, and the WiFi network are filtered at the basic level. The goal of basic level filtering is to restrict access to sites that are illegal, obscene, harmful to minors*, or that compromise computer or network security.


2.4     Wireless Internet access is provided to all customers utilizing their own devices. People of all ages who use their personal devices to access the library wireless internet will be filtered at the basic level.


2.5     Additionally, all library accounts for customers under the age of 13 are set to the enhanced filtering level. The enhanced filtering level blocks all of the same categories of information that are blocked with basic filtering plus other categories as necessary in order to conform to the Collection Development Policy for children’s materials.


2.6 For both the basic and enhanced filtering levels, the Library will utilize categories provided by the filtering system that best match the Library’s intentions.


2.7     A customer may request that an Internet site be blocked, or unblocked for “bona fide research or other lawful purposes”.** Staff will make every effort to unblock the site for that session and then the site will be reviewed within 72 hours to determine whether it should be permanently blocked or unblocked.


2.8     All Library customers are expected to access the Internet in compliance with the Library’s Rules of Conduct, and within the boundaries of the law. Viewing illegal materials (obscenity, child pornography or materials harmful to minors) is prohibited.  While using in-library computer workstations customers may not attempt to change program settings, boot from an external device, or try to run their own software. Violations may result in the loss of Internet privileges. Using the computer workstation constitutes an agreement by the user to these terms.

3. Computer and Internet Safety

3.1     The Library respects the rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians in determining and monitoring the use of the Internet by their children under the age of 18. Parents or guardians who do not want their minor children to have access to the Internet may request that their child be blocked from Internet access on library computers. The Library advises parents/guardians that it cannot assure children’s safety and security while using the Internet in the library. When children use social networks, electronic mail, chat and other forms of direct electronic communication, the Library cannot protect against unauthorized access, including hacking, and other unlawful online activities. Furthermore, the Library cannot protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding children if children provide such information while using the Internet.


3.2      It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to monitor the Internet use of their minor children.

4. Implementation

4.1     To facilitate implementation of the Internet Use Policy, the Library will prepare responses to Internet Workstation Frequently Asked Questions.


4.2     Copies of the Internet Use Policy, and other relevant documents, will be available to the Library’s customers in print format and electronically via the Library’s web site.

*The Children’s Internet Protection Act defines “Harmful to minors” as: Any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that—(i) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (ii) depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or lewd exhibition of the genitals; and (iii) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors” (Secs. 1703(b)(2), 20 U.S.C. sec 3601(a)(5)(F) as added by CIPA sec 1711, 20 U.S.C. sec 9134(b)(f)(7)(B) as added by CIPA sec 1712(a), and 147 U.S.C. sec 254(h)(c)(G) as added by CIPA sec. 1721 (a)).


**Federal Communications Commission’s Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Guide:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act


Adopted by the Board of Trustees on June 21, 1995, Revised March 22, 2000, January 16, 2002, March 16, 2004, November 15, 2006, and December 18, 2012. Latest revision effective February 18, 2013.


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